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Ready to discover the art of preserving your handpan, an instrument that charms with its soothing sounds?

At Zena-Drum, we use top-quality materials to ensure its durability. This article guides you in essential maintenance so every note of your hang drum retains its purity. Perfect for beginners, embark on a journey where your musical instrument remains eternally vibrant.

Also read: How to make your own handpan ?

A- Maintaining a Nitrided Handpan is a Challenge

Taking care of a nitrided handpan is a real challenge, mainly due to the variety of nitriding processes applied by each hang drum manufacturer. This specificity makes it difficult to apply universal maintenance advice, as the characteristics of each instrument vary significantly.

1. Variability of Treatments

Each workshop uses its own nitriding process, adjusting the temperature and duration of nitrogen exposure. These variations directly influence the porosity and corrosion resistance of the nitrided steel, making each zen drum unique in terms of maintenance needs.

2. Risks of Generalized Maintenance

Following generic maintenance advice can be risky. Some products, like oils, may not be suitable for your specific handpan. A wrong selection can alter the instrument's sound quality or accelerate its wear.

3. Consulting the Manufacturer

The key to successful maintenance lies in communicating with your handpan manufacturer. Before any maintenance attempt, it is essential to ask for personalized recommendations on suitable products and practices for your instrument.

By adopting a specific and informed approach to maintaining your nitrided handpan, you can preserve its beauty and sound quality for years to come.

B- How to Maintain a Stainless Steel Handpan?

A stainless steel handpan is much easier to maintain since it is less prone to rust. The lack of a thermochemical nitriding process also prevents varying degrees of porosity.

For maintenance, you will need:

  • A soft cloth
  • A scrubbing sponge (like the one used for dishwashing)
  • A microfiber or chamois cloth
  • Alcohol
  • A protective oil

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Step 1: Use a Soft Cloth

Start by wiping your instrument with a soft cloth to remove grease and moisture from your hands. This step prepares your steel hang drum for the protective oil, which can only be applied if your instrument shows no signs of rust. If rust is present, proceed directly to step 4.

Step 2: Use a Scrubbing Sponge

If your pantam has small rust spots, there's no need for drastic measures. Use the green side of a dishwashing sponge. Avoid using stainless steel scrubbers, as they can damage your instrument. Make gentle circular motions without applying too much pressure. If rust is too deep, proceed to step 3.

Step 3: Use Alcohol

Use household alcohol (70° or 90°). Soak a soft cloth with alcohol and apply it to both sides of the hand drum, paying attention to the joint between the two metal domes. Alcohol is less corrosive than water and effectively removes surface ions and existing rust.

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Step 4: Apply Protective Oil

The purpose of the protective oil is to create a barrier between the air and the metal to prevent oxidation. Rust forms from iron, oxygen, and water. Removing one of these elements prevents steel oxidation. Each handpan requires oil recommended by the manufacturer. Apply the oil with a soft cloth and let it sit for a few minutes.

Step 5: Remove Excess Oil with a Microfiber Cloth or Chamois

The final step is to remove excess oil. Use either a microfiber cloth or a chamois. Both types of cloth will absorb excess oil, but chamois will make your instrument shine more. For added shine, you can use old stockings exclusively for polishing the surface.

C- Practical Guide for Handpan Maintenance

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This table provides a detailed roadmap for the care and maintenance of your steel drum. By following these simple yet essential steps, you ensure not only the longevity of your instrument but also the preservation of its sound quality.

Maintenance Activity Frequency Instructions Recommended Products Precautions
Surface Cleaning After each use Wipe with a soft, dry cloth to remove prints and dust. Microfiber cloth Avoid water or chemicals
Oil Application Monthly Apply a thin layer of oil to protect against corrosion. Coconut oil, baby oil Apply sparingly
Tuning Check Biannual Use a tuner app to check and adjust tuning if needed. Digital tuner for handpan Do not force notes when adjusting
Storage Continuous Keep in a dry, stable temperature area, away from direct sunlight. Protective case, handpan stand Avoid humid places or sudden temperature changes


To ensure the longevity and sound purity of your nitrided handpan, it is crucial to follow a maintenance routine tailored to the manufacturer's guidelines. The variations in the nitriding process highlight the importance of a customized approach.

We invite you to share your tips and explore more advice on our blog dedicated to handpan enthusiasts. Together, let's enrich our practice and understanding of this fascinating relaxation instrument.

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When you order your handpan instrument from Zena-Drum, you will receive a special cloth to clean your instrument.


1. How long does a handpan last?

A well-maintained handpan can last a lifetime. Regular cleaning, proper storage, and occasional tuning ensure its longevity. Protecting it from extreme temperatures and moisture is crucial for preserving its sound quality and structural integrity.

2. Can you put coconut oil on a handpan?

Yes, applying coconut oil on a handpan is recommended for preventing rust and maintaining its finish. Use a soft cloth to apply a thin layer, ensuring the oil does not accumulate. This creates a protective barrier against moisture and oxidation.

3. How often do you need to tune a handpan?

It is advisable to check and possibly tune your handpan every six months. Regular use and environmental factors can slightly alter its tuning. Using a digital tuner specifically designed for handpans ensures accurate adjustments without damaging the instrument.

4. Can you use olive oil on a handpan?

While olive oil can be used, it is not the best choice for a handpan. Oils like coconut or baby oil are preferable due to their protective properties. Olive oil can become sticky over time and attract dust, potentially affecting the instrument's finish.

5. How should I store my handpan?

Store your handpan in a dry, stable temperature environment, away from direct sunlight. Use a protective case or stand to prevent physical damage. Avoid humid places or sudden temperature changes to maintain its structural integrity and sound quality.